Thursday, March 24, 2011

Waiting for more time - is that an oxymoron?

I’ve been trying very hard to get back into the exercise vibe this week.  I have succeeded pretty well, considering I had a minor muscle pull in one calf.  I’ve been walking on the treadmill 3 nights a week and making sure I stretch properly, and I’ve also been doing 15-30 minutes of yoga on non-treadmill nights.

My psychologist stressed the importance of exercise for my mental health, but I can’t seem to escape the nagging feeling that I am not being productive when I take time out to exercise.  I feel like I ought to be doing something else at the same time; like reading, or knitting, or typing up minutes from the last committee meeting.

I am very behind on my committee work, mainly because I have been knitting wolf suits and vaginas, but also because I am pretending that if I ignore it, it will go away.

I volunteered for the committee under duress, as it was at a time in my life when I wanted to join everything in order to be accepted and be USEFUL and all sorts of other angsty, needy nonsense.
Now, having had a really excellent session of cognitive behavioural therapy, and also reading the article about saying no in the latest edition of Littlies magazine, I recognise that unless I give up “Me Time” I do not have time to be a regular committee member.

I have thought long and hard about this, and wondered if I could be considered selfish for wanting to give up voluntary work in order to spend time knitting body parts, running on the spot and chatting to people I have only ever met online, and I have come to the conclusion that I could not.

My job is to care for my children and manage my household.  Now I won’t carp on about how much work it is being a stay-home Mum.  Those that are, know.  Those that aren’t either also know or don’t believe you and will never be convinced.  Suffice to say, if I get done all the jobs that NEED to be done every day, plus the jobs that I would LIKE to get done in order for the house to be more than just “livable” I get finished around 9pm at night (I start at 6.30am).

At that time I do my 15-30 minutes of exercise and then sit down with some knitting and a cuppa.  I tend to spend at least an hour on knitting if I am working on a specific project, so that gets me to around 10.30pm.  After that I flick on the PC and catch up with the world.

I try very hard to get into bed by 11pm, and as I type now it’s 10.45 so I should make it tonight, but if I am reading some good blog posts, or chatting to a mate in the UK who is just getting  up, it’s hard to stick to a decent bedtime.

So, if I do anything extra, I have to give up my evenings to do it, and to be honest, if I am to be a mentally competent parent and a sane human being, then I can’t give up my evenings until I have more free time during the day.

The way I have begun to see it is that my children are at home full-time til they are 4 and head for Kindy part-time, then onto school full-time at 5.  My youngest is now 1, so I have 3 years left of dedicating all my daylight hours to their needs, and snatching “Me Time” after they go to bed.  Once they are all at Kindy and school, THEN I will start to give a bit back to my community.

The community can damn well wait.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I have nothing to say

I’ve been trying to think of something to write for this week’s blog post, and I seem to have run out of ideas for once.

In order to keep on top of the boring, everyday stuff, I have been trying very hard to follow my list of Daily Reminders, before I even attempt to get onto anything fun or otherwise mentally stimulating, but I have been getting distracted by The Wonders of the Internet instead.

I have discovered I can now Tweet by mobile phone, and as my Twitter account is generally dedicated to the MadStuffKidsSay I will be spending all my credit recording the bizarre things my children say to me when we are in the car on the way to somewhere else (I don’t text and drive though, you’ll be pleased to read).

I have also been inspired to complete the latest knitting project (a wolf suit for a baby called Max.  He’s called MAX, he NEEDS a wolf suit), as I have a brilliant new offer to make knitted genitalia for a lovely woman I have met online, thanks to being distracted by the Wonder of the Internet that is The Bloggess.

Now it was Whoopee who got me into The Bloggess, and now Whoopee has been posting again, after a terrible drought in her brilliant musings, so I have been constantly checking her site for updates.

I have also been getting up a little bit earlier, and putting on make-up before I go out.  I think I am either growing up finally, or heading for a mid-life crisis.  I am leaning towards the mid-life crisis, because then I can justify becoming completely obsessed with a Maori Boy Band and FaceStalking them constantly.

I have been diligently taking a photo a day for my Project 365, but due to using up all my allocated broadbands watching Icky Sticky, I may have to upload all the rest of my March photos in April.

I have also been failing to do anything for the PTA but stubbornly Not Feeling Guilty about it.  I have been using my Wise Brain to point out to my Emotional Wreck Brain that my children will be at that school for the next 12 years, so there is plenty of time for me to get involved later on.  The same goes for Kindy and we haven’t even started there yet.

I think my psychology sessions have worked extremely well.  I am getting much better at being honest about whether or not I can help people out, and have not been volunteering quite so readily.  I have also been making myself let other people get on with stuff, and just offering the help if I know I can realistically do something, rather than taking on everything then failing spectacularly to do anything at all and then beating myself up for being rubbish.

In other news we got a pig.  It’s called Hamlet Sausage and it was last seen walking down Proctor Road heading for Hamilton; if you spot it, please let me know.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Moon on a stick

I am struggling with a new phase in my oldest child’s development; the fact that she never seems to be happy with what she has got.

I don’t want to make her feel bad for having all that she has, but I do want her to at least recognise when she is onto a good thing, which seems to be impossible.

We do a lot of “random rewards” where I dish out lollies or extra stories or treats and extra playtime for either no reason, or for a reason that I haven’t told the kids about before (i.e. not bribing them).  The main one is bedtime stories, the girls get 1 story each, but if I feel generous they get an extra one after they have brushed their teeth.

They don’t always get it and when they do it’s not always for the same reason.  I always tell them that after that third story they will go to bed and no whinging please, but Mapera ALWAYS asks for ANOTHER story, and has a mini-meltdown when I ALWAYS say no.

She also complains bitterly whenever she thinks she is getting a raw deal, no matter how much notice I give her, or how many warnings that things might not go the way she wants.  The minute it doesn’t go her way, the whining starts

“It’s not fair”
“I never get to jump on the trampoline”
“I never get presents”
“I always have to tidy my room”
“Why do I always have to brush my teeth”
“I want to go to the $2 shop, we NEVER get anything from the $2 shop”

I have tried pointing out their room full of toys, I have removed said toys and left them with nothing til they earned it back, I have thrown stuff away and shut them outside in the rain, but still the whinging comes.

I really don’t want to be a “think of the starving children in Africa” sort of parent, but I really would like my kid to just once go “wow, thanks Mum, we’re really lucky aren’t we?” instead of “Muuuuuuuum, I just want ONE more”

Maybe I should just try it myself, see if it actually works on other people
“Tareka, I know I’ve got 10 pairs of shoes, but I REALLY NEED a blue pair…and a bag to match…and a new pair of jeans….pleeeeeeease, I never have ANYTHING for meeeee”

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Why is making friends as an adult, like flirting as a teenager?

I have often thought about the process of making new friends as an adult because I have moved a number of times in my adult life, and found myself in the middle of a new community not knowing anyone.

I have never had a lot of trouble making friends, but I do have to push myself to make the first move as I am plagued by insecurities from my teens that hamper any adult self-confidence I may have acquired.

As a teen, one very strong memory I have is of being on an A-level biology field trip, and being acutely aware of the 2 cliques in the group.  On one side were the geeky types who worked very hard, wore glasses, had buck teeth and didn’t tend to drink.  I fitted into 2 of those categories (I’ll let you guess which ones).

On the other side were the cool types who got good grades but didn’t work, or got bad grades and didn’t care; they were good-looking, drank vodka neat and got stoned.  For some inexplicable reason, I wanted to hang out with the cool types.  I think my main motivation was a lad called Nobby, but I also desperately wanted to be cool.

Now that should have been a clue for me to ease back; that desperation thing.  Desperation is never attractive, whether you’re going for a job, flirting with a potential partner or just trying to fit in as a teen.

I tried hard to be like the cool kids, but only succeeded in earning the soul-crushingly humiliating nickname “Klingon”.  I made matters even worse for myself by getting disgustingly drunk and declaring my undying love for Nobby.  I hang my head in shame even as I type.

So, skip forward into adulthood, and I am making new friends in my community.  I have got a few good mates now, thanks to having children of playgroup, kindy and school age, but I don’t have any really close friends yet.

There’s one woman I met when my oldest started school; she is intelligent, beautiful, interesting and funny.  She is also extremely busy.  I try and talk to her whenever I see her, but I am very aware of being that Klingon again, so I try and talk to other people too, just so I don’t look like I am rushing up to her going “OMG HI! SO NICE TO SEE YOU AGAIN!” the minute she appears.

I’d love to be able to feel confident enough to just drop in for coffee, or to invite her to some grown-up dinner party without having to shout at the children to “go to bed” every 10 minutes.
However, my child-focused lifestyle means that I will probably end up chatting over the next PTA sausage sizzle, wondering if wearing my stilettos for school sports day was too obvious.